| 5 October 2004
Japan plays host to the penultimate round of the 2004 FIA Formula One World Championship season next weekend and the BMW WilliamsF1 Team heads to Suzuka with hopes of securing valuable points to augment their position in the Constructors’ Championship.
After the successful premiere of the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai SAUBER PETRONAS is now heading to the 17th and penultimate round of the FIA Formula One World Championship, the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka on 10 October.
Willy Rampf (Technical Director): “The secret to a quick lap at Suzuka lies in the balance of the car. We will run a similar aero configuration as we did in Shanghai. Our principal focus will be on creating a driveable, neutral car, especially as the “esses” at the start of the lap are crucially important. You need a car that can change direction quickly and precisely, and if it doesn’t you can lose a lot of time there.
Elsewhere, the circuit presents a great challenge to drivers and race engineers alike because there is such a wide variety of corners. 130R is one of the great corners in Formula One. “Tyre degradation is also very important, because Suzuka has many corners, and therefore tyre wear is high. The more you can do to preserve the efficiency of the tyres, the better. “We showed at Spa, Monza and Shanghai that the SAUBER PETRONAS C23 is very well suited to fast corners, so I am confident that we can be very competitive again this weekend.”
Giancarlo Fisichella (139 GPs, 21 points 2004): “Scoring two more championship points at the inaugural Chinese Grand Prix was a great result and a good debut at this fantastic new track. And Suzuka is a great track too, maybe the best after Spa. I love the circuit! It’s very interesting to drive, and has lots of difficult corners. The first part in particular is very technical.
And it’s a place, one of the few, where a driver’s talent can make up time. It’s also a Bridgestone circuit, so I am hoping that we will have some great tyres there! I think it will suit us very well with the SAUBER PETRONAS C23, and I am feeling quietly confident.”
Felipe Massa (32 GPs, 11 points 2004): “The Chinese Grand Prix was a tough race for me at an amazing new venue and I’m happy that I could add a further championship point to my account. Suzuka is another fantastic track! I love its very quick corners, and the variety of them. For sure it’s one of my favourite tracks. I really enjoy racing there. “The track also has a very special atmosphere, because the Japanese fans are so enthusiastic and knowledgeable.
And as it is in Bridgestone’s homeland, we naturally want to do really well for them. And I think we can. The C23 likes very quick corners and our best race this year was in Spa, which has a similar character to Suzuka. I think we can get the job done there.”